Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez delivered another brilliant outing for the Seattle Mariners his last time out, but rookie Michael Pineda has been the club's most consistent starter this season.
Pineda will try to win his third consecutive outing Friday night when the Mariners continue their set against the visiting Oakland Athletics.
Hernandez, the league leader in ERA (2.27), innings (249 2-3) and opponents' batting average (.212) last season, improved to 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA after throwing 7 2-3 innings of four-hit ball in Thursday's 1-0 series-opening win.
Seattle (7-13) had dropped six of eight overall and five in a row at home in this matchup.
"His stuff is as good as anyone in the game," manager Eric Wedge said of Hernandez.
Pineda (2-1, 2.33 ERA), though, has been even better. In his third career start, the right-hander surrendered one run in six innings of Sunday's 3-2 victory at Kansas City. Opponents are batting .197 against Pineda, who has struck out 16 and allowed just 13 hits - with no home runs - in 19 1-3 innings.
"I can't say enough about this guy,' said shortstop Brendan Ryan. "From the end of spring training, I've said this guy has a legit shot to be the rookie of the year. You see his stuff. You make guys look the way they do on all three pitches, he's outstanding and he's only going to get better. ... He's got a great chance to be something special.'
Tyson Ross (1-1, 3.60) also might have that potential, but for now, the right-hander is just happy to be back in Oakland's rotation. After losing the battle for the fifth starter's spot in the spring, Ross replaces Dallas Braden after the left-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a stiff shoulder.
Ross, who turns 24 on Friday, is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in two career starts, with the last coming May 20 against Detroit.
"I'm excited," he told the A's official website. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to start again."
In his lone appearance against Seattle, Ross had two strikeouts and threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings in a 6-5 home win April 7, 2010.
While Oakland (9-10) leads the majors with a 2.52 ERA, Ross probably shouldn't expect too much run support. The A's had just five hits Thursday - all singles - and the club is batting .237 with the second-fewest runs (66) in the AL.
The Mariners have been getting great production from utility infielder Adam Kennedy, who could get his third consecutive start at first base Friday with Justin Smoak on the bereavement list.
Kennedy, playing for his fourth team in four seasons - including the A's in 2009 - homered for the second straight game Thursday and is batting a team-best .316.
The Mariners could also have Milton Bradley in the lineup after he missed the series opener with an illness.
Daric Barton, a career. 322 hitter in Seattle, might be back at first base for Oakland after an illness prevented him from starting Thursday. He struck out in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter, dropping his batting average to .071 (1 for 14) over the past five games.
Seattle has won three of four against Oakland this season after losing the last five meetings in 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
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